WPI history

30+ years of women's philanthropy


1991 - Two visionary women—Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor—establish the National Network of Women as Philanthropists (NNWP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

1992 - Two-day conference on women and philanthropy, one of the first of its kind, is held at Wingspread in Racine, Wisconsin.

1995 - Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor publish Reinventing Fundraising.

1997 - NNWP becomes the Women’s Philanthropy Institute and is incorporated as a free-standing nonprofit.


2004 - WPI moves to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

2005 - Andrea Pactor joins WPI and oversees its first symposium on women’s philanthropy: Women & Philanthropy: Gaining Momentum.

2006 - WPI publishes The Transformative Power of Women’s Philanthropy.

2007 - WPI and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) hold joint conference, (Re)Defining Philanthropy: Rich Conversations.

2008 - Debra Mesch joins WPI as director; Inaugural Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement award is presented to Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor at WPI’s second symposium, Moving Women’s Philanthropy Forward: Influences, Intent, Impact.

2009 - First WPI Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is awarded to Deborah Skolnick Einhorn; First WPI Council is formed (inaugural members include Kim Davis, Edith Falk, Trish Jackson, Kathleen Loehr, Michele Minter, Ellen Remmer, Marcela Rovzar, Melanie Sabelhaus, Elizabeth Somerset, Becky Sykes, and Lisa Witter); WPI organizes its first annual panel on topics in women’s philanthropy at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) conference.

2010 - WPI and New York Times Knowledge Network partner to offer online course Women & Philanthropy: The Time is Now; First annual Women Give report on income, marital status, and causes women support is released.